I’ve just finished season three of Babylon Five and it’s teaching me a lot about Jungian theory. One of Jung’s hypotheses is that everyone’s consciousness consists of a number of different personalities. This is exemplified when Talia Winters, one of the leading characters in Babylon Five (which is set two hundred years in the future on a space station), reveals that a second personality has been placed deep within her consciousness, a bit like Raymond Shaw in the Manchurian Candidate. Another of Jung’s theories is that humanity shares a common set of ideas and beliefs, which he called “the collective unconscious”. Various archetypes are common to everyone, regardless of race or creed. This is demonstrated in Babylon Five when one of the aliens (Kosh) reveals his true self. He is recognised by every race even though he appears in a different angelic form to everyone. Jung also believed that the unconscious mind was a vital part of a well adjusted psyche. A creative tension between the conscious and unconscious mind keeps an individual healthy. This is the main reason why the main enemy in the program, the bad guys, are starting a war. Only the strong races will survive but they will be stronger for the conflict they have endured. Jung also defined the persona and the soul-image (or anima/animus) as being vital for a healthy person. The main female alien in the program (Delenn) is the anima to the main hero’s (John Sheridan) persona. She is erotic and wise, two essential characteristics of the anima. Jung believed that no human is as virtuous as they would like to appear. Selfish, greedy and evil characteristics are the epitome of the “shadow” side of their personality. The entirety of a person’s psyche is called the “self”; the sense of purpose and identity is called the “ego” and the uncivilised impulses that should not be let out in public is called the “shadow”. The bad guys, the main enemy in Babylon Five are called the shadows. Which leads nicely into….
“Shadows” by Teenage Fan Club is their ninth album. I went to see them in 1992 at the time of “Badwagonesque”. This is a great album – very melodic and full of lovely harmonies. Live, they were excruciatingly loud. After that, I rather gave up on them but Peter made me listen to “Shadows” a few years ago and it is a lovely album. It’s rock – melodic rock, replete with great tunes, harmonies and guitar work. The album was released in 2010, five years after their previous album, “Man-Made”.
(Not to be an old git complaining how things used to be better but consider that The Beatles recorded “Love Me Do” in September 1962 and they started recording “Strawberry Fields Forever” in November 1967. That’s also five years. I wonder if Teenage Fanclub achieved as much in the five years between albums in the Noughties as The Beatles did in the Sixties. Anyway, just saying. Not complaining because “Shadows” is a lovely album. They started recording it in August 2008 and it was released in June 2010. When you consider that eleven songs from Sgt. Pepper were recorded in two months (February and March 1967), it makes you wonder about the nature of different work ethics. Anyway, just saying, as I said before.)
“When I Still Have Thee” is a perfect pop song evoking the spirit of The Byrds with a beautiful Rickenbacker guitar, sublime harmonies and a great melody. And some weird lyrics: “Well the Rolling Stones wrote a song for me. It’s a minor song in a major key”
“Baby Lee” is a lovely song and there’s a great acoustic version on YouTube. It’s a very sweet love song: “Baby Lee I’m only trying to remind you they had me in mind when they designed you.” Maybe that looks a little too twee when written down but it’s gentle, lovely, sunny and optimistic. Not at all like the shadows in Babylon Five. Now for Season Four.